Danny Masterson used drugging, Scientology to get away with rape, prosecutor says

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Danny Masterson drugged women’s drinks so he could rape them, then relied on his prominence in the Church of Scientology to avoid consequences for years, a prosecutor told jurors Tuesday in closing arguments at the actor’s trial.

“The defendant drugs his victims to gain control. He does this to take away his victims’ ability to consent,” Deputy District Attorney Ariel Anson told the jury of seven men and five women. “You don’t want to have sex? You don’t have a choice. The defendant makes that choice for these victims. And he does it over and over and over again.”

The 47-year-old former star of “That ’70s Show” is on rape trial for a second time after the first ended in a mistrial in December, with a jury hopelessly deadlocked on all counts. The new jury is expected to get the case Wednesday morning when prosecutors complete their final rebuttal.

Masterson has pleaded not guilty to raping three women at his home between 2001 and 2003. His attorney, Philip Cohen told jurors during his closing that inconsistencies in the women’s stories that he said Anson downplayed are essential and should make it easy for jurors to have reasonable doubt of Masterson’s guilt.

“She did a very nice job of ignoring many of them,” Cohen said. “What she views as little inconsistencies are at the heart of trying to determine, ‘Is somebody, reliable, credible, believable enough for a criminal conviction?’”

He dwelled on one woman testifying that Masterson pulled a gun from a nightstand at one point during the night she said she was attacked, though there was no mention of it in the report from her initial police interview. She insisted she had told police about it then. Cohen said that alone was enough to crater her credibility and introduce reasonable doubt that Masterson is guilty.

Anson took aim at the Church of Scientology, of which Masterson is a member and all three women are former members, throughout her argument, emphasizing that church authorities kept the women from accepting what had happened to them and from reporting it to police for years.

“The church taught his victims, ‘Rape isn’t rape, you caused this, and above all, you are never allowed to go to law enforcement,’” she said. “In Scientology, the defendant is a celebrity and he is untouchable.”

Content retrieved from: https://apnews.com/article/danny-masterson-rape-retrial-ecf0ee15fb71ef603dc4ad30ba74f3dd.

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